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D23 Expo 2017: Legacy of Disney Ink and Paint Women

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Today at the D23 Expo they had a fascinating panel called ‘Ink and Paint- The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation’. Author Mindy Johnson has been researching the Ink and Paint departments for her book Ink and Paint: the Women of Walt Disney’s Animation and it turns out women were a key element in the success of Walt Disney Animation Studios and that Walt was quite progressive in his views on hiring women.

The panel featured 5 of the women profiled in the book and they had very interesting stories to tell.

  1. Virginia Fleener- worked in Ink and Paint in 1942 and then worked on cleaning cells before they were moved to the photography department. Her most memorable film was the Three Caballeros.
  2. Jane Baer- worked in the animation department along with several female animators. She worked on the scene in Sleeping Beauty where Fauna makes the topsy-turvy cake. She also worked on The Rescuers and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  3. Gretchen Abrecht- worked in Ink and Paint in the 1970s. She helped make the transition from hand drawn to digital. She also saw as the women petitioned Disney to wear slacks to the office instead of dresses.
  4. Patty Peraza- worked in special effects animation and came in during the making of Fox and the Hound. She is a graduate of Cal Arts and was given a scholarship by the Disney family.

The ladies shared a lot of interesting information about the process of ink and paint. Many aspects could effect their work including weather and humidity in the air. They also were situated in any spot in the building they could. Disney created an ink and paint lab and they had to know the conditions in order to create the right paint.

I also didn’t know that Fantasia was ‘in many ways a woman’s film’. Loads of female animators and other professionals were involved in the making of it including the first female music editor in any film not just animation.

‘Ink and Paint: the Women of Walt Disney’s Animation’ goes into much more detail on these great Disney women and their lives. It can be pre-ordered on here.

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About Rachel Wagner

Rachel has loved animation since she was a little girl singing songs from The Little Mermaid at the top of her lungs. She currently works in social media marketing and loves to blog and vlog about Disney, Pixar and all kinds of movies in her free time. Her favorite movie is Up and she considers herself quite the Cinderella aficionado seeing every version she can get her hands on. She also loves animated TV shows like Simpsons, Gravity Falls, Star Wars Rebels and more. Follow her on twitter @smilingldsgirl